The knowledgeable team of automotive experts at Car and Driver put together a list of editor’s choice awards each year and have since 1956. This year, the 2020 Volvo XC40 made the list as the 2020 Best Subcompact Luxury SUV and with good reason. Loaded with tech and fun to drive, the Volvo XC40 is certainly popular with the trendy, luxury crowd.
How did it make the celebrated Car and Driver list as the Best Subcompact Luxury SUV? Who was it up against in the category?
Best subcompact luxury SUV
The hip and luxury vehicle enthusiasts know a good SUV when they see one. So did the editors at Car and Driver. They named the 2020 Volvo XC40 as the Best Subcompact Luxury SUV this year. They loved its funky exterior, its opulent interior, and the fact that it’s loaded with all the great technology you could want.
Inside the XC40, the cabin is comfortable and roomy with Swedish flair. Its seats are really comfy whether you’re going across town on an errand or driving for hours on a road trip. There’s lots of passenger room in both the front and the back. There’s plenty of cargo space too with loads of extra bins and cubbies where you can store your stuff.
The standard model offers the front-wheel-drive T4 with a 2.0-liter inline-four turbocharged engine that gets 184 hp. The available T5 models have even more power with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that gets 248 horsepower and has all-wheel drive standard. It may not be as dynamic as the BMW X1 or the Jaguar E-Pace, but it has edgy good looks and is so well designed that it easily holds its own with the competition.
Pros and cons of the Volvo XC40
The team at Car and Driver gave the 2020 Volvo XC40 a rating of 9.5 out of 10 on top of putting it on their annual Editor’s Choice Awards list.
They particularly liked the T5 R-Design model of the XC40. Sure, it gives you standard all-wheel drive, which is handy for year-round driving. But it also comes with the more powerful engine and its 248-hp output. The T5 R-Design model also offers a panoramic roof, standard navigation, a dynamic suspension, and a look that will turn heads.
They recommended adding heated front seats and steering wheel for comfort and adaptive dampers for greater adjustability. With the Advanced package, the R-Design model of the XC40 gets all the driver-assist features you could ask for. There’s a 360-degree surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous mode, and adaptive LED headlights that have their own cleaning system. The Lava carpeting in this model adds to the unique panache this SUV offers.
The C&D team did find a couple of flaws with the 2020 Volvo XC40. Under heavy throttle, they found the engine had a coarse sound which is the total opposite of the refined, quiet ride it provides when cruising. They pointed out that the infotainment was a little slow to respond and its fuel efficiency wasn’t anything to write home about.
The 2020 Volvo XC40 had some stiff competition in the subcompact luxury SUV segment.
When compared to the 2020 Jaguar E-Pace, the 2020 Volvo XC40 wins solidly. Let’s forget for a moment that the XC40 costs $5,200 less than the Jaguar. The Volvo XC40 offers more interior space using top-quality materials and more standard features. The XC40 offers a digital instrument display with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and satellite radio too. According to U.S. News, the XC40 offers a better transmission that doesn’t hesitate when shifting as the Jaguar does.
The BMW X1 offers an opulent interior equal to that of the XC40 and offers a dynamic performance too. There’s only one engine choice but it offers plenty of power and good acceleration. The X1 also features composed handling a solid suspension that provides power and comfort. The BMW X1, according to U.S. News, has a smidge more cargo space. Otherwise, the two SUVs are pretty evenly matched aside from the fact that the XC40 costs about $1,200 less which is an advantage.